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Jonathan Cuartas
Patrick Fugit, Ingrid Sophie Schram, Owen Campbell
Writing Credits:
Jonathan Cuartas

Two siblings find themselves at odds over care for their frail and sickly younger brother.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English PCM 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 8/10/2021

• Trailer & Previews


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My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 13, 2021)

With a title like My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To, one might expect this 2020 film to offer a romantic drama. One would believe incorrectly, as instead it gives us dark horror tale.

Thomas (Owen Campbell) suffers from a strange, debilitating disorder. This requires his siblings Dwight (Patrick Fugit) and Jessie (Ingrid Sophie Schram).

Especially because it requires risky actions, this duty weighs heavily on Dwight, and he begins to dream of a different life. However, Jessie will stop at nothing to keep the family unit together.

20 years ago, Fugit made his film debut with a bang via Cameron Crowe’s classic Almost Famous. It was all downhill from there, but hey, the guy still gets work two decades later, so I give him credit for that.

Not that Beat does much to enhance his filmography. While it doesn’t become a bad flick, it also fails to offer much of real interest.

I’d call Beat a “slow burn” movie, but instead, it falls more into the “no burn” category. I’m all for films that progress at a gradual pace, but too much of this flick’s build just seems like dawdling and filler.

Even at a mere 89 minutes, Beat feels padded. We get long-winded character scenes that add little, with occasional punctuation from violence.

We never really get a great sense of the various roles, as the film fails to flesh them out in a substantial manner. Given how much emphasis the story places on the characters and their interactions, this seems like a problem.

The slow pacing would work better if the narrative actually built to something, but it doesn’t pay off well in the end. We get a reveal that seems less than surprising and not much tension or drama along the way.

Beat feels too much like a short film stretched to feature length. It fails to find a pulse and becomes a slow, not especially compelling tale.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus D-

My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.33:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Why those dimensions? I have no idea, but antiquated aspect ratio aside, the image looked pretty good.

Sharpness felt appealing. A smidgen of softness hit some wider shots, but those instances remained quite insubstantial, so the majority of the flick showed fine clarity and accuracy.

Jaggies and shimmering failed to distract, and edge haloes remained absent. The movie also lacked any source flaws and was consistently clean.

In terms of colors, Beat went with a lot of amber/orange along with some teal. The hues never stood out as memorable, but they were fine for this story’s choices.

Blacks were pretty deep, and shadows were well-depicted – an important factor given the potentially murky interior settings. The image offered a “B+” presentation.

As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it lacked a ton of ambition, though I didn’t view that as a flaw. A story like this came heavy on ambience and light on opportunities for fireworks, so the absence of showy sequences failed to become a problem.

Music filled the various channels in a satisfying manner, and effects fleshed out the spectrum in a logical way. Nothing dazzled but the mix seemed suitable for the material.

Audio quality pleased. Speech was concise and natural, while effects remained accurate and full-bodied.

Music was vibrant and dynamic. While this was never a memorable track, it worked for the story.

The disc opens with ads for The Carnivores, Scenes From An Empty Church, Night Drive and Blood Conscious. We also get the trailer for Beat but the disc lacks any other extras.

With an emphasis on characters, My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To potentially offers an unusual take on the horror genre. Unfortunately, it comes with such a slow pace and so little actual drama that it fails to make much impact. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and adequate audio but it lacks bonus materials. This turns into a sluggish flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: -- Stars Number of Votes: 0
0 3:
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